Today, I’m proud to announce that our collective hard work is paying off. We’re driving down unemployment and getting our people back to work.
In July 2022, The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) estimated that the unemployment rate in The Bahamas stood at 18 per cent.
As of May 2023, the rate has been reduced to 8.8%, lower than pre-pandemic levels in 2019, which stood at 9.5%.
We congratulate all those who have benefitted and are now better able to look after themselves and their loved ones.
I am especially pleased that our measures had an impact in Grand Bahama and Abaco, two of our hardest-hit areas in the past few years, where jobs and opportunities are returning. This administration will double its efforts through the Ministry of Grand Bahama and the Department of Labour to move the unemployment numbers for Grand Bahama in a positive direction.
Our focus remains clear: Bahamians come first. We’ve made sure of this by enforcing the Bahamianization Policy. With initiatives like ‘Labour on The Blocks 2.0’ and ‘Labour on the Campus’, since May 2022, we’ve helped more than 3,000 Bahamians find employment.
Young people already make a significant contribution to the life of our country. However, youth unemployment in the Caribbean remains regrettably high. While our rates are the best in the region and are improving, much more must be done in The Bahamas.
Overall this is welcome news. However, this administration will not rest on its laurels. Your government continues to work by investing in skills and training for all. Through the National Training Agency and BTVI, we’re addressing skill gaps and preparing all our people – young and old – for the jobs of tomorrow, giving them the economic security they deserve.
The Government has already increased the minimum wage and signed union agreements that have improved our workers’ salaries and benefits.
Friends: We’re on the right track. The country’s headed in the right direction. And together, let’s continue to do what we can to get more Bahamians into work.